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Last Updated: Saturday April 25 2009 12:33 GMT

Call for new dangerous dogs law

A pitbull terrier in Germany

The current rules that keep people safe from dangerous dogs need big changes according to the RSPCA.

The animal charity reckons the rules at the moment are too focused on the breeds of dogs when they should be targeting the dogs' owners.

The RSPCA says attacks on people by dogs have increased a lot since laws on dangerous dogs were introduced in 1991.

The charity wants more done to stop people who keep certain types of dogs to make them look tough or as weapons.

The law on keeping violent dogs is called the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Four breeds of dog are banned under that law - the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

But some experts say the rules on which breeds are dangerous aren't strict enough, and add that it's often hard to work out which breed a dog is.

Dog attacks rising

Figures from the National Health Service say the number of dog attacks have tripled since 1991.

Many attacks are being blamed on cross-bred dogs, which are not illegal.

In January 2009, London's Metropolitan Police created a new unit to tackle the rise in the number of dogs being used by criminals.